Early communicative gestures and signs in French Sign Language acquisition

Abstract : Sign-exposed children (SI-E) acquiring Sign Languages follow a developmental sequence similar to their speech-exposed (SP-E) counterparts acquiring spoken languages. They communicate through gestural means – mainly deictic gestures – before they are able to produce their first lexical units ─ words or signs (Volterra, Iverson & Castrataro, 2006). Throughout the second year, two other types of communicative gestures complement the SP-E children’s repertoires: conventional gestures (CG: codified gestures shared among a given community) and representational gestures (RG: or iconic gestures, representing a referent based on its formal aspects or the action associated with it). What is specific to the language acquisition of SI-E children is that gestural and lexical development occurs in the same visual-gestural modality. It is therefore highly challenging to determine if a production is a RG or a sign without precise criteria (Petitto, 1992; Volterra & Iverson, 1995; Hoiting & Slobin, 2007). The aim of the study is twofold: 1) to collect developmental data on LSF acquisition from birth to 3 y.o in order to describe language acquisition milestones and lexical development in LSF and 2) to consider the gesture-sign continuum by investigating the way children reorganize their gestural communication system during language development, i.e., how gestural linguistic components are integrated into the existing prelinguistic gestural repertoire. We collected longitudinal data on four children exposed to LSF from birth by their deaf parents. Parent-child dyads were videotaped at monthly intervals during 45-minute spontaneous interactions. This study presents the preliminary results of 3 children (1 deaf and 2 hearing). Spontaneous gesturing and signing were coded and analyzed in terms of frequency between 9 and 15 months. The developmental progression of communicative gestures and signs observed is in line with previous research. The different types and tokens of communicative gestures and signs will be analysed and described further.
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Poster communications
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Submitted on : Friday, September 21, 2018 - 12:25:21 PM
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Elise Guy-Guyenet, Caroline Bogliotti, Anne Lacheret-Dujour. Early communicative gestures and signs in French Sign Language acquisition. Nijmegen Lecture 2018, Feb 2018, Nijmegen, Netherlands. 2018. ⟨hal-01786751⟩



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